It’s true: Intel is building an internet TV platform that also watches you

13 Feb 2013

One of the tech industry’s worst-kept secrets is now out in the open as Intel’s Erik Huggers confirmed that the company is developing a set-top box.

We first reported on Intel’s rumoured set-top box with facial recognition back in June last year, and yesterday it was confirmed by Huggers, corporate vice-president and general manager of Intel Media.

Intel Media was established in the past year for the purpose of developing an internet television platform for the chip-making giant. With the PC industry in decline, Intel is not prepared to simply limit its focus to creating processors for smartphones and tablets and instead plans to take on the highly competitive and challenging internet TV market.

Huggers is no stranger to the internet TV market. Having previously held the role of director of future, media and technology at the BBC, he was the man behind the BBC iPlayer.

Speaking at the AllThingsD Dive into Media conference yesterday, Huggers confirmed that Intel is working on an internet-connected set-top box and, though a final product is not yet ready, employees have been testing a functioning device.

Intel plans to provide both live and on-demand content via its set-top box through ‘smarter’ bundles – smaller collections of content curated by users. However, sceptics in the industry believe that Intel will struggle to convince those in control of the content to go along with the plan.

According to Huggers, Intel is in talks with content providers and one of its selling points is a built-in camera that will recognise users and allow for highly targeted advertising and content. Even if the studios can be convinced of the Intel set-top box’s potential, will consumers want to watch TV that’s also watching them?

Digital media image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.